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Hiscox must pay out on disputed business interruption policies

Following an announcement this morning from the UK High Court, Hiscox & QBE must pay out on their disputed business interruption policies – in what could represent a sum of more than £50m for unmet claims from the UK hospitality sector.

As previously reported by the drinks business, the pressure has been mounting on insurers to pay out valid claims from the UK hospitality sector for lost revenue during the lockdown, with a union announced in May to sue insurance provider Hiscox for unmet claims amounting to more than £50m.

Following months of hard work from the market leading hospitality broker NDML, and the Night Time Industries Association, alongside industry leading barristers and lawyers, this is the result the whole industry was hoping for, with both organisations celebrating today the positive result for 370,000 policyholders, highlighting the difference it will make to the survival of their businesses.

Michael Kill CEO of NTIA said:

“This verdict is just what we’ve been waiting for. The night-time economy has been one of the hardest hit by lockdown measures during the pandemic, and many businesses are grassroots, family owned venues, that are cultural cornerstones of towns and cities across the UK. The enforced lockdown since March has created unthinkable financial turmoil and stress for many business owners. This verdict gives some reassurance that these businesses will get the payments they deserve to help them survive this period.”

His sentiments were echoed by Simon Mabb, managing director of NDML:

“We’re so pleased that these months of hard work have paid off for our clients. This is the result we all knew was the right one from the beginning, and it’s frustrating that it’s taken so long to reach this point. But it’s reassuring to know that we can now give some certainty back to the venues and businesses that have had their lives put on hold for so long.”

With next steps still being finalised, it’s not yet clear exactly when businesses will see their claims paid, but this result means businesses can progress to the next stage and start planning for the future more secure in the knowledge that they’ll have the resources to survive.

While this is good news, there is likely to be an appeal brought by insurers where the High Court has sided with the FCA, so businesses should be aware that there are still challenges ahead, but they will not be facing them alone.

Both NTIA and the NDML will be holding webinars for affected clients and members with technical claims specialists and industry leading barrister Philip Kolvin QC, to keep affected businesses updated with all the developments of the case and next steps for claimants.

These webinars are taking place on Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 September 2020.

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